Stages: A Handbook on Men and Relationships – Chapter 12

Chapter 12

So, if the easiest thing to do is lie, what is the second hardest thing to do? Maybe the hardest thing to do sometimes is tell the truth. I guess if telling the truth is the hardest thing to do then remembering what your lie is must be the second hardest. One of the bad things about Stage Two is the fact that you can no longer be completely honest. In Stage One you can tell the truth because you really don’t give a damn, you dig? When I began dealing with Laney and Janice. I had to lie. Not big all out bull, just small ones like ‘the overtime thing’ and the ‘I’m with Flip thing.’ I could use both of these with Laney but Janice was a different situation. I always said that I would never date a woman whose girlfriend was dating a friend of mine and here I was doing just that. I had to be extremely careful with what I said because from the day after Flip and Tina met, they were inseparable. The funniest thing in the world happens when a best friend goes to Stage Three, they stop calling their boys. Flip had started to cut down on the phone conversations and stopped coming by the crib so much. We spoke at work all the time but it wasn’t the same.

If you ever ask a man if he’s jealous of when his boy thinks he’s found the right person and he says that he’s not, it’s a lie. I was jealous like a kid watching that rich guy in the neighborhood ride his new big wheel down the street. I was jealous because it felt like Tina was taking my best friend. I should’ve been happy for him. Hell, he even stopped worrying about everything that bothered him at work. I was cool though, I pretended not to mind all of his antics and speeches about what he and Tina did over the weekend.

“Alright, check this right, we were walking through the safari tour at the Wild Animal Park and this monkey ran up right. Tina jumped and took off,” he would say laughing on our lunch break. The shit wasn’t funny and I really didn’t give a damn. Who wanted to go the animal park anyway?

“That’s funny Flip, what did she do next?” I really didn’t appreciate him putting this shit in my face.

Now when I was going through this phase of being pissed off at Flip I didn’t pay attention to how much of a punk I was being. I might as well have put on a pink houserobe, put rollers in my hair and smoked cigarettes like some old woman waiting for her husband after bowling night. I was trippin.

“You don’t really wanna know what happened after that,” he said laughing.

And I didn’t, he was right. The zoo, the Wild Animal Park, every damn weekend for the first couple of months it was a different damn story. I had failed to realize how much shit you can do in San Diego with a little bit of money. So there I was being bitter at Flip about nothing at all. If he was happy then, like I said before, I should have been happy for him. Honestly, I just didn’t like the idea of loosing my road dog.

The whole situation kind of reared it’s ugly head one afternoon after work.

“Yo Flip, wanna go to the happy hour at the TGIF’s today?”

“That’s cool. Let me call Tina and tell her to meet us there.”

“Fuck you gon do that for?”

“What do you mean the fuck am I gon do that? That’s my lady man, you buggin Tee.”

“This is the boys man, the fellas, you know women aren’t supposed to go to happy hour with the fellas.”

“I ain’t lookin for nobody. Shit I got all that I need. You need to step up and get either Laney or Janice. Or is it Laney or Ros, or Ros and Janice,” he said sarcastically.

“What, you think you better than me?”

“I didn’t say that shit Tee. Don’t put words in my mouth man.”

“That’s what it sounded like you were saying,” I said.

“Look man I’m going to go upstairs. You need to cool off. I’ll rap with you later.”

I left work and went to happy hour by myself. Flip was acting like he was a fucking saint like he had never did anything wrong. I decided that I would avoid talking with him for a while, but it didn’t work. He kept cracking stupid ass jokes when I was trying to be mad. Why is it that best friends act like women when they get mad at each other?

“Tee I know you ain’t talking to me cause of what I said the other day. Tee?”

“I’m working man.”

“Check this right, White man, Black man, Chinese man.”

I walked off in the middle of his joke towards the other end of the line. As I passed all of the workers, I could still hear Flip talking.

I broke down when I heard him yell, “Terrence, I love you man.”

I turned and looked, everybody on my line quit working and looked at me and Flip. He continued to make an ass out of us.

“About last night, I’m sorry. I won’t do it again,” and then he gave the thumbs up. I was pissed. I looked towards Manny and the others. Manny looked at me.

“Hey boss that shit is between you and him. We didn’t hear nothing.”

“Fuck you Manny.”

Manny responded quickly, “Looks like you doing that with somebody already boss.”

The rest of the line people laughed and went back to work. I walked back towards Flip and we walked towards the conference room. It wouldn’t be used for another hour, so we sat down and talked.

“Man I know this thing that I have with Tina is messing with you.”

“No, it’s not that.”

“Let’s be men and talk about this. You’re my boy man and this shit is important to me. Don’t play that hardcore role. Let’s talk for real.”

The hardcore role is easy to play, especially for us guys. It’s the way we’re raised and the way we live. I didn’t want to get to the bottom of this situation, I wanted to stay mad at Flip. But we always talked about heavy shit and this time wouldn’t be any different.

“Flip, I know you caught up in ol’ girl-”

“We’re caught up into each other.”

“Whatever, what I’m saying is that you seem to be losing a grasp on everything. How do you know she’s the one? I mean damn, she’s got you questioning me and shit.” Flip had been asking me questions about where I stood with Laney and Janice.

“She doesn’t have me questioning. She can see what kind of shit you’re up to and the only things she’s doing is asking if you’re playing her girlfriend. That’s all.”

“What did you tell her?”

“I told her that’s none of our business and that I really don’t see that much of you outside of work, except for the times when it’s just me and you. Tee, you’re my brother. Your life is your life.”

“You see anything wrong with my life Flip?”

“Look man all I’m saying is that you’re my dog from day one. I’m not going to let a lady mess up what we are, but I like this girl a lot so you need to see that man.”

“But you didn’t answer my question. Do you think something’s wrong with me?”

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t, but that’s not my problem. We better get back to work.”

“We’ll finish this later, bet?”

“Bet.” I walked over to Flip and hugged him. Just as I did, Manny walked through the door.

“Oh shit, I’m sorry boss 1 and boss 2, my bad. I didn’t see a thing.”

“Shut up Manny,” we both said. We all walked back to the floor to see what was going on.

I still felt awkward about Flip and Tina after that took place, but it didn’t matter. He wasn’t the one with the problem, I was. But as I said, I haven’t really paid attention to much, but I’m working on it.

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